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Vegetables A-Z: tomato

Posted on Posted in Gardening tips, Vegetables A-Z

Lycopersicon esculentum


It is cultivated from seedlings. Transplant it outside when temperatures rise above 18 °C (64 °F) during the day and above 10 °C (50 °F) during the night. Larger seedlings are more difficult to cultivate and bear fruit later. Set support only for the vining sorts of tomatoes, not the bush types. Set a pole for each plant. Remove additional stems and even some leaves in moist summers. Set up support before you plant the seedlings, to avoid harming their roots.

Distance between plants

Bush tomatoes: at least 50 cm (20 in) between rows and at least 50 cm (20 in) between plants in a row. Vining tomatoes: at least 70 cm (27 in) between rows and at least 70 cm (27 in) between plants in a row. If the seedlings are grafted, make additional 20 cm (8 in) distance. If you grow tomatoes on two stems: at least 90 cm (35 in) between rows and at least 150 cm (4 ft) between plants in a row.




Four plants per person.

Time of planting

Mid-February till mid-March for seedlings. They germinate in 8-14 days. Transplant, when the leaves turn horizontally.


It needs a lot of nutrients. Fertilize with mature barn manure or home compost, and add comfrey brew or mulch. When using mineral fertilizers, choose the ones with more potassium. When the tomato fruits are still small, it is recommended to use foliage fertilizer with calcium, especially in hot and dry summer days. Enable sufficient amounts of boron in the soil.


It needs a lot of water. Water at least every three days to 30 cm (12 in) deep. Don’t water on leaves.

Tomato’s good neighbors

Zucchini, onion, garlic, chives, leek, black radish, radish, celery, broad beans, bush beans, parsley, radicchio, asparagus, sweet corn. You can also plant lettuce, lamb’s lettuce or spinach in between the tomato plants.

Tomato’s bad neighbors

Peas, potatoes, cabbage, Florence fennel.

Diseases and pests

Potato blight. It appears, when the plants have been moist for a longer time, when temperatures are around 20 to 30 °C (68 to 86 °F). Don’t plant tomatoes near to potatoes. Don’t let the seedlings grow to0 tall (or bloom yet) before transplanting. Plant onion, garlic and basil near, spray with a mixture of milk and water (1:1), thin out leaves (up to five a week), remove suckers and lower leaves, don’t touch wet plants, don’t water the leaves, keep sufficient distance between rows and set rows in the direction of the wind, to enable quick drying of wet plants.

Tomato’s storage

Pick fresh fruits when needed. Be careful not to break the stem and don’t pick when the plants are moist. When the plant starts to die off, pick all the fruits – they will ripen inside, in a warm and dry environment. Freeze or make tomato sauce to use in winter.


Use fruits, which are usually red. They contain many antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. Green, immature tomatoes contain solanine, which is poisonous.


For stronger roots, plant it deeper in each transplanting, so that the first leaves are a few cm (in) above the ground. Planting several times in the same place is good for tomatoes, but it also attracts pests and fungi and it’s better to avoid it.


Tomato plants are demanding regarding warmth. There are determinate or bush sorts and indeterminate or vining sorts. The bush ones don’t need support, need less fertilization, and their fruits ripen earlier and all at once.